Carter’s Birth Story

IMG_1142Four weeks ago weeks ago we welcomed Carter Anthony into our family. (By the way, I’ve changed that first word three times now. I started this when he was two weeks old and he’s now 4 and a half! Life with two kids…) His birth was a beautiful end to a (mostly) dream pregnancy and I honestly feel so blessed to have had things happen the way they did. I know birth is unpredictable and rarely goes how you envision it, but in our case, it went better than I imagined. I spent most of my pregnancy focusing on a peaceful birth. Liam’s birth was fast and intense to the nth degree. I fought the pain with every muscle in my body and know that’s what ultimately made it very difficult and far more painful than it needed to be. I was intent on having a different outcome with this baby’s arrival.

“I am confident in my body’s ability to birth naturally and easily.”

At 8pm on Tuesday February 10th, my water broke. After a few days of no contractions, a false alarm on Thursday night and using every trick up my midwife’s sleeve, I finally went into the hospital for a neonatal non-stress test to make sure everything was still ok. It was a horrible experience, to be honest. I felt so violated and as if my rights were being stripped away with every moment I spent in the building. I know that sounds superbly dramatic, but that’s how it felt after 9 months of very low intervention care (no ultrasounds, no Doppler, no labs, no vaginal exams). All of that was taken away from me in the two hours I was there. I was pressured to birth there. The OB said he would be happy to break my water to send me into labor right then. It was all a very yucky experience but I’m glad I went. It put my mind at ease that baby was still healthy and confirmed very clearly my decision to birth at home, but it was definitely the most difficult part of my pregnancy.

My “due date” was 2/15, coincidentally, Liam’s 3rd birthday. From the start of the pregnancy, Ryan and I joked about the fact that it would be neat to have two kids with the same birthday. As it turns out, that was Carter’s plan! Valentine’s Day night, Ryan cooked chicken parm, in hopes it would catapult me into labor, as it did with Liam three years before. And it wouldn’t you know, it worked! I decided to go to sleep around 11:30 after having a few non-interesting contractions. I figured I’d probably wake up if I went into actual labor. Sure enough, I woke at 12:35 with a contraction that I knew was the real thing. I called Medra who was expecting my call and headed out immediately. The birthing tub had already been set up from Thursday’s false alarm so Ryan just had to fill it with warm water. He got to work while I bounced on the yoga ball and timed my contractions. From the first painful contraction to delivery, they were steady at 3-5 minutes apart the entire time. Completely manageable and predictable.

Medra and her assistant, Tara, arrived shortly after 1am, birthing bags in hand. I was in the tub when they arrived but ended up getting out once I realized it was slowing things down. Ryan was busy making coffee, the dogs were set up in the garage with their beds and a fan for white noise and Liam was fast asleep in his room. We spent the next hour talking and laughing while I bounced and Medra timed. Liam woke once around 2:15am but I went up, rubbed his back and was back down in less than 5 minutes. A minor miracle given the previous few weeks of frequent night wakings.

I got back into the tub at 3:30 and spent the next hour getting in and out of the tub to use the bathroom, which was very similar to my labor with Liam. As I sat in the tub, I had the realization that transition was probably right around the corner. Could I handle the pain? What if I hyperventilated as I did in my last birth? I let out the feelings and told Ryan was scared of the unknown. The feeling of helplessness passed quickly and I continued my practice of breathing very slowly and deeply with each contraction. I visualized them as waves moving their way from the top of my belly. I pushed them down mentally, through my body and out my feet. I didn’t groan or yell, I just focused the pain through my breath. Apparently that was transition because when Medra did her one internal check (of my entire pregnancy!) at 4:15am, I was dilated to a 9 with a cervical lip.


FullSizeRenderI hopped back in the tub and kept breathing through the contractions. I definitely cried again and said I wanted my mom, which Ryan says I did with Liam as well. It wasn’t a big cry, just enough to release some emotions. I used lavender essential oil on a cool washcloth to keep me relaxed and enjoyed the warmth of the tub. I checked myself around 4:30am and felt the lip wasn’t ready to move yet but after another two contractions, it popped up. He moved into position and all of a sudden when I checked, his head was RIGHT THERE. I could still feel the bag of waters intact as he moved down. The water was a little cold at that point so Ryan went to add some hot water. As soon as that warm water was added, I relaxed and my body took over. I never pushed. Carter and my uterus did all the work! It was truly remarkable for both me and my seasoned midwife! My water broke as he crowned, I reached down and felt a full head of hair. I said to Medra, “I think there’s something wrong.” because I hadn’t pushed at all and the sensation was very foreign to me. She said, “Nothing’s wrong. That’s your baby’s head!” I delivered his head and then Medra caught his body. Official arrival time- 5:05am. Carter weighed 8.2lbs and was 22″ long.

IMG_0915His cord had a complete knot which was pretty neat to see. Placenta came about 15 minutes later without complication. Apgar was an 8 and then a 10 and he was covered in cheesy vernix. We didn’t even know if he was boy or girl for a few minutes, we were focused on getting him to breathe. Once we checked, I was FLOORED to discover he was a boy! I’d been envisioning and planning for a girl the entire pregnancy. My instincts are so off when it comes to my children’s gender.

IMG_0924I was helped out of the tub to the couch and we were nursing a few minutes later. It wasn’t until 7am that Liam finally woke up and made his way downstairs. He’d slept through the entire thing! What a miracle. We had balloons and a sign hung up for his 3rd birthday but the best present of all- a baby brother!

IMG_0943My recovery has been pretty idyllic as well. I had a few setbacks when I pushed myself but as soon as I stopped, I was able to make up the lost ground. I didn’t tear so my healing has been all internal- and fast! We are having some nursing issues since he has a lip tie but since we’ve had the lip and tongue ties clipped, he’s putting on weight and sleeping better.

It’s truly amazing how restorative and healing this birth was for both Ryan and me. I feel like I conquered my fear of childbirth pain head-on and my body responded in a way I never thought possible. To have a minimally painful childbirth is something I never dreamed of, but was fortunate enough to get to experience. It was peaceful, calm, and perfectly wonderful, in only the way natural childbirth can be. Obviously it was still painful but nothing I couldn’t handle. Ryan was able to witness his wife being brave and strong and birth his second son without any drugs or medical intervention. Any fears he may have had about homebirth he kept to himself and he was fully supportive of my decision to birth the way I did. Not everyone would be comfortable with not seeing their baby on a sonogram or having prenatal tests done. I will forever grateful to him for standing beside me as my strong partner throughout this pregnancy.

IMG_0919I’m also so, SO incredibly thankful for my midwife and her assistant. I am completely confident that I would not have achieved the same birth with any other birthing team. The prenatal experience was low key and comfortable and set the tone for what was to be an “over the top perfect birth” in Medra’s words. By the way, this woman has been catching babies since around the time I was born so that means a lot when she says that! All of our appointments were done at our house. It was lovely to not have to drag Liam to doctor’s appointments every few weeks. We were able to settle into the birth very comfortably and quickly because Medra had been to our home so many times, it wasn’t strange to have her there, if that makes sense.

I’m actually really surprised I birthed in the tub. I wasn’t drawn to a water birth anymore than a land birth. I said multiple occasions I’d rather birth in the bathtub so we could just wash everything down the drain! But I was open to the birth leading the way and once I realized how wonderfully amazing warm water feels when you’re essentially running a marathon, I fully embraced it. Good thing Medra had a tub or I probably wouldn’t have bothered!

So that’s it. Carter’s story. He is already such an integral part of our family and Liam is equally in love with him as Ryan and I. We are truly blessed!


Posted in Baby Bump, Carter, Family, homebirth, Pregnancy

She’s Crafty!

For my birthday, my grandma gave me her old sewing machine. This thing is a beast and they don’t build machines like it anymore. It comes in its own cabinet and basically, it’s awesome. I could not, however, find the time to figure out how to thread it. Yes, I know how to thread sewing machines but this one is different. More high tech I guess?

Anyway, my mom came to the rescue and threaded it for me last weekend. Since then, I’ve been busy! I made a teething/nursing necklace for Liam following Joni’s tutorial. He’s been SO distracted nursing lately and I hoped this would help. It has! And he likes to chew on it as well. So I’d say this project is a success.

I also has two old baskets lying around which I knew needed to be repurposed. The first was an old white wicker laundry basket whose handle got broken in one of our many moves. But the basket itself is fine and I’ve had it for a good many years so I wanted to keep it.

I spray painted it black and using Emily’s tutorial, sewed a liner for it. I’m loving the fact I have so much scrap fabric and ribbons around. The projects are endless! It’s obviously less than perfect but it will work great as a home for Liam’s toys in the living room when the time comes. For now, it houses our diapers in his closet.

The other basket I resurrected was an old apple picking basket we had from our CSA in Nashville. I’d kept it in the trunk to hold our reusable bags but felt it took up too much room. I have needed a way to corral all my babywearing carriers and wraps so this seemed perfect.

I spray painted it light yellow (trying to use up all our paint before we move again) and was excited to discover I had fabric on hand which matched it perfectly! I made a liner using Delia’s tutorial. This one went much faster than the first. Liam was kind enough to take a long nap and I got both done in one sitting. Both liners were made with thicker “outdoor” cotton fabric, not just quilting cotton, something I felt was important since these baskets were going to take quite a beating.

There you have it! More projects in the works…

Posted in Crafty, Creativity, Friends, Home, Liam, Sewing | Leave a comment

20 Chore Tuesday & More!

Inspired, as always, by my dear friend Emily who blogs very regularly at Joyful Abode, I’m jumping head first into 20 Chore Tuesday! As luck would have it, however, yesterday was a VERY challenging parenting day for me and a rough teething one for Liam. Suffice it to say I got stuff done, but not nearly everything I wanted to.

Here are the lists I posted in the morning:

Successful #1. Laundry didn’t get done. Caught up on work, went for a much needed run instead of Shredding, and did NOT paint my toe nails.


Haven’t found a race yet, or made the photo book, missed Dine & Dash, did not do pattern for my basket liner. I did switch out Liam’s Medium gDiapers for Large out of necessity. Ryan’s drawer did not get organized.


No donation or Narnia (I crossed this one off because I’m going to have Ryan tackle it with me). I DID get the kitchen things done! Still, my 20 Chore Tuesday ended up being 9 Chore Tuesday. Sad.


And then this was my view for the rest of the day…

Funny thing, the checked list above was all stuff I did before 9am! I thought the day was off to a great, productive start…  then the Teething gods laugh at me. My goal for next week will be to try and get the entire list done, of course, since that’s the point of the exercise. I realize it was a bit much anyway. For a list of 20 items, they need to be small and manageable, not “re-organize the entire under-the-stairs Narnia closet”.

I’m also starting a new cleaning approach. I’ve been a SAHM (really, WAHM) for almost 6 months and I still have a lot to learn about time management. Some thing I realized the past few days is I need to have specific items which get done on a weekly basis or else I feel like I’m constantly on a hamster wheel- laundry, bathrooms, vacuuming, etc. I realize those things pretty much need constant upkeep but I want to dedicate a particular day per week to focus on them. Not only so I can do a better job at completing tasks, but also feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. Sometimes I look around and wonder, “What on earth did I do today??”

So here’s my rough schedule, pending amendments after it’s been executed once or twice:

MONDAY- Dust, straighten after the weekend

TUESDAY- 20 Chore Tuesday


THURSDAY- Bathrooms

FRIDAY- Vacuum downstairs & mop

SATURDAY- Mop porch

SUNDAY- grocery shop/meal plan, vacuum upstairs

Ongoing items are: diaper & workout clothes laundry, keeping up with the dishes and kitchen (with Ryan’s help). I’m envisioning if there’s a slow week or I have extra time doing deep cleaning things like- wiping out refrigerator, sweeping porch, etc. I like the Motivated Moms calendar but most of it is second nature to me. I do need ideas for deeper cleaning though because I’m bad at those. I’m not sure our kitchen floor was mopped more than once when we lived in Great Lakes (!!!) To be fair, we did have a 9×9 floor carpet down.

This was half of my laundry pile this morning

Done! And put away!!

Do you have set days for particular recurring chores or do you take a more haphazard approach?

Posted in DH, Home, Liam | 2 Comments

Pinterest Projects: Round Three

Let’s waste no time and dive right into my Pinterest Projects!

10×5 Project

I’ve been on a cleaning, purging and organizing tear the past few weeks. No area of the house is safe, no object immune from my scrutiny. With our impending move this fall, we need to lighten our load. As of 2013, Ryan & I will have moved EIGHT times in FIVE years. Some stuff we’ve been dragging around that whole time without getting much use. Well, no more! If we haven’t used or worn the item in the past year, it’s gone. (for the most part)

This post got me started, I think.

Green Onions

I use green onions in spurts. Often I’ll buy them and they go bad without me ever opening the bag. (for shame) This has saved those poor onions. It works! The onions remain green and fresh and what’s best- you only have to chop once!

Vegetable Latkes

These always look so yummy when they pop up on my feed. Not sure if it’s cause I used frozen and then thawed squash but they were a dud. I squeezed every last ounce of water out but still, they were soggy. Sad.

Paleo Pizza Salad

I’m eating mostly primal/Paleo these days and always on the hunt for a new fun way to eat my old favorites. This one was ok. More of a pizza stir fry than salad. I think I’ll stick with my cauliflower pizza crust instead. :)

(No picture for this one as the website won’t allow it.)

Paleo Crab Cakes

Yes! Make these! They are A-W-E-S-O-M-E! Granted, I did tweak the recipe a bit using Paula Deen’s since I found the ingredient list rather boring. I used a small can of crab and basically halved the recipe. I stuck with the coconut flour, red onion, garlic and salt & pepper. I used regular mayo and since we didn’t have chipotle powder I went with Paula’s spice combination and added:  Worcestershire sauce, lemon, cayenne powder and dry mustard powder. I fried them up in coconut oil and WOAH. So delicious and moist inside, crispy on the outside. I made a Remoulade sauce to go along with it and served it to myself on a bed of shredded romaine lettuce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Cheap Korean Beef

I don’t know that you should ever include the words “cheap” and “meat” in the recipe title because that’s what this tasted like. Maybe I cooked it wrong? Probably not though since I know how to follow directions. This was a disappointing meal. I’m just glad I wasn’t serving it to Ryan or we both would’ve gone hungry! Don’t recommend trying it.

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

One word- Yes. One thousands times, YES. I made this using leftover spaghetti squash from a meal we had earlier in the week. I’d estimate I had about 1/2 squash, maybe a little less. I eyeballed the measurements, used a combination of sour cream and Chobani Plain Yogurt (for added protein) and maybe a pinch too much cayenne pepper. But this came out delicious. I ate the whole loaf pan for dinner. I’m considering going to the store today just to buy another squash so I can make it again. It’s that good.

Paleo Zucchini Brownies

As with zucchini bread, once the squash is cooked in enough sugar and other yummy stuff, it loses any flavor it once had, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can hide zucchini in a plethora of food items should you have a picky eater. Ryan was definitely fooled. To quote him, “Stop tricking me into eating healthy food!”. I cannot do that honey. Sorry.

These turned out yummy. More cake-like that I typically like from brownies but I’m wondering if I added too much baking powder or not enough zucchini (I only had 1 cup, not 1 1/2 as the recipe calls for). Regardless, they were delicious enough to make again and add to my growing repertoire of favorite Paleo recipes.

Coconut Manna Cups

These I made using coconut chips from Tropical Traditions instead of the coconut butter it calls for. I do have the butter, but I wanted to use the chips since I had them on hand. I also added chopped hazelnuts instead of walnuts because I like the flavor combination of hazelnuts and dark chocolate. So, I didn’t really follow this recipe at all except that I credit it for giving the idea in the first place! Basically, melt chocolate, add nuts or whatever and freeze. Done!


Despite the lovely picture below, mine were not this pretty. They leaked while cooking and fell apart after cooling. Next time I’m going to shred the coconut chips in the food processor before attempting again.

I know, I promised more “projects” instead of just food but this is what I’ve been doing lately- eating! Also lots of working out and being a mom. Hang tight… in a few more weeks Liam will be SIX MONTHS OLD!!!

Posted in Creativity, DH, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Paleo, Pinterest, Recipes | Leave a comment

Pinterest Projects: Round Two

In this edition of Pinterest Projects I’m going to share my successes as well as failures. Thankfully I’ve had more of the former and less of the latter. So far I’ve been focusing more on the food portion of Pinterest but I’m hoping with Liam becoming more independent, I’ll be able to do some house projects as well. Already this week I’ve painted the dresser that we use as the downstairs diaper change staging area. It’s been sitting on my To Do list for, oh… 7 months? :) Back to Pinterest-

The Good

Cauliflower Rice

I am obsessed with cauliflower. I probably eat 1-2 heads a week. Usually I just roast it with olive oil and salt, sometimes I also add curry powder, but when I stumbled upon this low-carb alternative to rice, I had to try it. And I love it! It’s quick and super easy and I prefer it to the taste of rice.

Sassy Water

This is one of those “recipes” on Pinterest I’m often like… DUH. Who needs instructions for this? But Pinterest is not just instructions, it’s also a place to organize ideas. Seeing the picture of this reminded me I wanted to make some flavored water. I made a half gallon of this and drank it all within the day. I used lime instead of lemon and added it individually to the glasses because I find when lime sits in water it gets really bitter. I forgot the mint and it was still yummy!

Vanilla Chai Breakfast Shake

Chocolate Covered Katie has a ton of yummy dairy-free milkshake recipe ideas. I’ve used many of them since cutting back on my dairy intake. This is one of my favorites. I also love the strawberry. I have the pineapple float with coconut ice cream on my list for the next round of Pinterest Projects.

Paleo Zucchini Boats

Emily is one of my dear friends and my go-to for many recipe and food ideas. These zucchini boats have been a regular in my lunch rotation for months now. I make 4-6 and freeze them. This way if Liam needs a lot of holding that day and I can’t cook, I can still have a super delicious lunch that is healthy and full of protein.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

More cauliflower? Yes! Another low-carb swap that is delicious and Ryan approved! The crust needs to be baked completely before you try to top it and I’ve found flipping it after it’s cooked on the bottom really helps the consistency of this crust.

Roasted Carrots

Loved these!!! I mentioned to Ryan a few weeks ago that we never have cooked carrots as a side for dinner. I don’t know if it’s cause we didn’t really eat them when I was a kid, but I figured I’d give it a shot. These are delicious! I’m obsessed with roasting anything and everything and these have been added to that list.

Super Easy Salsa

Ryan loves to make fresh salsa but often spends an hour doing it between chopping the tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, etc. We used the food processor this time and yeah… never chopping again. This recipe calls for canned tomatoes but we used fresh. It’s delicious and a more even taste than a chunkier pico de gallo type salsa we used to make. Highly recommended!

The Bad

Dehydrated Strawberries

I wish I would’ve taken a picture of the atrocity that my strawberries were because it was bad. They were black and gross. Recipe says 3 hours at 210` but I ended up having to cook them for closer to 5 to get them dried but then they were burnt. Don’t make these, it’s a waste of food.

Crockpot Mac & Cheese

This wasn’t very good. I think the egg included made it taste gross but I ended up trashing this because it wasn’t what I expected. The website says it’s more of a “custard” type dish, which it is, so just be prepared for that.

Fruit & Veggie Wash

This didn’t do anything. The grapes were still coated with gunk and the apples were waxy after soaking. I usually wash my fruits & vegetables with Dr. Bronner’s castille lemon soap. You can pick up a jug of it at Trader Joe’s for super cheap.

That’s it for now. Happy Pinning! And get out there and make some of those pins!

Posted in DH, Family, Food, Home, Paleo, Recipes | Leave a comment


Not sure how many of you out there are as obsessed with this wonderful tool as I am, but I love it! It’s so much easier to keep track of my “To Do One Day” than with various folders on my email. It’s visually stimulating and not as much of a time suck as Facebook or Twitter. I’ve made it my goal the past few weeks to actually do or make the things I pin and not just forget about them. Once a week I’m going to try and share the things I’ve done to keep myself motivated to blog and provide my readers with some good ideas and yummy food recipes!

Here are some recipes I’ve made in the past few weeks with my thoughts. I’m linking rather than re-typing the recipes so you’ll visit the original poster’s website. Scrolling through, I’m starting to realize how I’ve put on 10 lbs!

Grain Free Doughnuts by Gluten Free Girl

pic via Gluten Free Girl

Yum. Yum. YUM. Make these. Mine came out lighter than those pictured above, probably due to the almond flour I used. I ate them without powdered sugar but that was because I brought them in the car. These were not only a hit with me, my mom and my grandma but also my dad. THE DON liked these grain free doughnuts. This is a big deal for those who know my Daddy and should show you how “normal” they taste. They’re much more filling and satisfying than your typical Dunkin’ Donut or Krispy Kreme, in my opinion. Of course, they’re not as sweet either but I actually felt good about eating these donuts.

There are a few other recipes I’m hoping to try out since getting my new pan.

Bacon Braised Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Horseradish Sauce by Food Strong

pic via Food Strong

I love Brussels sprouts. Like LOVE them. I have a favorite recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking and I’ve made many, many times over. You can find it HERE.

On to this recipe. I thought I would love it. I really wanted to love it. I did not love it. I’m not sure if it was the fact the bacon ended up not being as crispy as I’d hoped but it kinda ruined the dish for me. The roasted Brussels sprouts were yummy but didn’t have much of a flavor until the sauce came into play. I used sour cream for the creamy horseradish sauce and it was delicious. I could eat the sauce alone by the spoonful. I probably wouldn’t make the dish again as the recipe stands. I’ll cook the bacon separately and add it at the end, once it’s already crispy and delicious.

Grain Free Double Chocolate Brownies by A Home in the Making

via A Home in the Making

These things kick ass. Ryan ate about half the pan, even after finding out they’re Paleo. I halved the recipe and it was a big enough pan for us. It uses a lot of almond butter (calls for 16 oz) but it’s worth it. I used agave syrup and Hershey’s dark chocolate chips. My mouth is watering just thinking about this. I need another pan. It’s healthy, right? The only thing I missed while eating these was the tall glass of cold milk to go along with it.

Cake Batter Cookies by Stephanie Cooks

pic via Stephanie Cooks

I’m kind of an Amazon addict. There I said it. I buy anything and everything on Amazon. You would get a kick out of my 30 day shopping history- oil filters & car oil, granola bars, trail mix, baking mix, razor blades, doughnut pan, vitamins, dog food, almond butter, nursing pads, and a case of gluten free cake mix. The last item is the important one in this featured recipe. It’s a quick and easy way to make cookies but they do taste kinda weird. Not my favorite. They’d do in a pinch but I won’t be making it again.

If you’re still interested in using cake mix to make cookies, try Adventures of a DIY Mom’s recipe for Cake Batter Snickerdoodles. For some reason, the cake batter flavor works better with the snickerdoodle cookie than the chocolate chip.

Warm Bean Dip by Life as a Lofthouse

pic via Life as a Lofthouse

Toted on Pinterest as “Texas Trash”, this stuff is good. I brought it as an appetizer for a dinner get together and everyone loved it. I used the leftovers for burritos later in the week. The only things I did differently was making the refried beans from scratch which was SUPER easy with canned beans and leftover bacon grease. I also bought a shredded blend of Mexican cheese. As long as you’re not trying to cut back on dairy like I am now, this is bound to be a hit with everyone.

Iced Coffee by Craving Comfort

pic via Craving Comfort

Some of you might not know that I worked at Starbucks for a few years back in college and again when we were in Nashville. I’m a bit of a coffee snob and most things I try to make a home do not stack up. This recipe does. I guess it’s the cold brewing of the coffee that makes it so delicious but if you’re like my dad, you won’t even need milk with this coffee. There is no bitterness like when you hot brew a cup and let it cool. It was messy when the time came to strain the coffee grounds but after a few times, I’m sure it gets easier.

I wasn’t a fan of the cream featured on this recipe and ended up using some vanilla syrup and half & half. I want to try this Vanilla-Almond Iced Coffee using almond or coconut milk instead of the half & half.  Sweetened condensed milk seems to be ok for me, I had some in a Cuban coffee and a Thai coffee without issue while in Richmond last week but I can’t use that as my sole mixer since I’m also trying to cut back on sugar! Oye… I’m still experimenting with my morning coffee ritual since cutting milk dairy. It’s tough for me, I won’t lie!

So I hope this post has introduced you to some new recipes you’ll try after my experimentation and reviews. This next week I’ll continue to focus on primal/Paleo and gluten-free recipes which are still delicious and easy to make.

Posted in Creativity, DH, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Paleo, Pinterest, Recipes, Stuff I Love | Leave a comment

Our Birth Story

Since today was our “official” due date, I figured it would be appropriate to write our birth story as best I can remember it. Parts of it are hazy but I tried to take notes during the early stages so I could recant it accurately. Here goes-

I started prodromal labor on January 30th around 2pm. It was the first time I’d had steady, painful contractions for more than a few minutes. I had an appointment the following day and the OB confirmed I had started early labor after hooking me up to the monitor. Of course, I didn’t know that I had two more weeks of nonsense before Liam decided it was time to arrive. You can read my prodromal labor lamentations in earlier posts.

Fast forward to Valentine’s Day. I woke up with contractions pretty strong that morning and started saying to myself “You are going into labor” “You are going to have your baby today” over and over again. I noticed when I said the mantras to myself the contractions would get stronger and not fade out like they had been doing the previous weeks. I tried to put the eagerness in the back of my mind as Ryan and I ran errands and attempted to stay busy during the day. Thankfully his job the past month has been pretty relaxed so he has been able to be home with me which was really nice for walking the dogs and helping me with stuff around the house. We made chicken parm that night and I kept having contractions. These were definitely different but how different? I didn’t want to sound the alarm and go to the hospital, only to be sent home. I had seen the OB the day before and I was dilated a bit more but labor hadn’t kick started or anything. At about 10pm I told Ryan we should probably head to the hospital.

Last belly shot before we left for the hospital!

Side note- some of you may be wondering why we went to the hospital since we had planned on a homebirth. A few weeks prior to me going into labor, Ryan & I made the difficult decision to switch our care to the OB team and birth at Highland Park hospital instead of at home. Most of the reasons are personal having to do with the midwife and NONE of them have to do with homebirth in an of itself. We still believe it is the best way to birth a baby and after Liam was born, found ourselves on many occasions wishing we were home. However, you need to be 100% on the same page with not only your spouse but your birthing team and bottom line: we weren’t. Fortunately I’d found the OB team who I was really comfortable with and while making the switch was hard and definitely stressful for me (I worried about interventions out of the OB team’s control) I’m really happy we did it. As I said before, the only downside the birthing in the hospital was the interruptions after Liam was born. It felt like someone was always coming in and out of the room to check on me or him or both of us. We left as soon as possible the next day and had a much better time relaxing at home.

Ok… so we arrived at the hospital around 11 and I was 3cm dilated, about 1/2 cm more than at my appointment the day before. My contractions were steady at about 8 minutes (since this is my second baby, and Aden was born early they wanted me to come in when the contractions were 7-8 min apart instead of 5). After they hooked me to the monitor, Ryan & I walked the halls for about 15 minutes until I was tired. Checked again and I was dilated to 4cm. They decided to admit me at 2am since it was clear active labor was just around the corner.

I tried to sleep but was pretty amped up with excitement and the contractions were impossible to ignore throughout the night. They slowed down around 5am and I worried that I was going to be sent home but the nurse assured me we were on our way to having a baby and they weren’t sending me anywhere. Ryan left around 6 to take the dogs to the boarding facility and I went for a walk in the halls. At 8am my water broke. Ryan showed up at 8:15. I got in the shower and was having what I would call painful period cramps. Nothing too difficult to deal with but definitely worth paying attention to. I got out of the shower and walked around the room a bit, sat on the birth ball and felt the contractions grow stronger with each minute.

I think they checked me again around 9 and I was at 5cm, my cervix had completely moved forward and things were moving along nicely. It was quite painful at this point. I used groaning and swaying with Ryan to try to and ease the pain at the height of each contraction. I remember having the urge to pee over and over and being glad there was a bathroom so close to the area where I was laboring. During the really painful points, I visualized running a marathon and how it feels to be halfway through- utterly spent and wanting to give up but then, how amazing it feels to cross the finish line. I tried to envision that and work towards the goal of crossing the finish line. Temporary pain for long term gain.

At 10am they checked me and I was at 6cm. Transition hit. Here’s where I start to lose it. I’m crying with every contraction and telling Ryan “no, no”, shaking my head. I’m sure I said “I can’t do this” a few times. I would groan when the contraction started and then be crying by the time it was over. The nursing team was in and out of the room this whole time, whispering and getting things set up to deliver. Never once did they ask me if I wanted pain medication. Never once did they bother me except when I was hyperventalting and the nurse got in my face and helped me breathe slowly. Ryan was steadfast in our birth plan- “You CAN do this. Remember why we chose this. Do it for our son. You can handle this. It will be over soon.” Those are the phrases that stick out to me a week later. He didn’t cave, despite the fact I was in obvious agony, and for that I am so, SO thankful. To be honest, Liam was born so fast by the time they would’ve gotten drugs in me, it would’ve been too late but I’m so proud of myself for not even asking for them. I wanted to, believe me. But part of me didn’t want to let Ryan down and the other part knew I was doing the best thing for our child.

I vaguely remember the nurse telling me to let her know when I got the urge to push. I have no idea what time it was but probably 10:30/10:40 and I REALLY needed to push. Dr. Wong rushed in and said “Are you ready to have your baby?” or something to that effect. I think I probably just cried.

With Ryan on one side and the nurse on the other, I pushed through three contractions. I probably could’ve gotten him out in two but I was hoping to not tear too badly and knew he needed to essentially help me push him out so I took breaks even when they were telling me to push. Someone had grabbed me an oxygen mask because I was having a hard time breathing, probably due to my asthma and heart PVC’s but I’m SO grateful it was there because I needed it a few times during the pushing stage. Ryan was right next to me, telling me how great I was doing and that he could see the head. Next thing I knew, he was out. After two weeks and two days of pre-labor and 3 hours of active labor Liam Angelo was born on 2/15 at 10:58am, weighing 9.2 lbs! and 20.5 inches. Our little bundle of joy.

They gave him to me immediately and we waited for the cord to stop pulsing. Ryan cut the cord and they took Liam over to the table to “pink” him up a bit. I forgot to ask what his Apgar score was but they gave him right back and I laid him on my chest, skin to skin. Dr. Wong put in a few stitches, helped me deliver my placenta and it was all over. Minutes later, I got Liam to latch. The room cleared out and it was just us.

We were able to leave the hospital the next afternoon. The boys were understandably very curious when they were introduced to their little brother but have been absolutely great with him. They get concerned when they hear him cry but don’t bark like they used to when hearing babies on tv. They come up to us when I’m nursing and lick his head and try to sit on my lap. They seem very protective of him.

So that’s it. The story of Liam’s birth. I am beyond proud of myself for doing it completely drug free including labor augmenting pitocin and any pain medication. I wish I’d been calmer during transition but I’m not ashamed at how I got through the pain. It was purely instinctual. My birth experience was SO fast and for that I am thankful because I’m not sure I could’ve taken more than a few hours of the intense pain. Bottom line: I delivered a 9 pound baby without drugs. I AM AWESOME!

I’m going to try and post weekly Liam updates/milestones as we go but no promises. I was pretty good about keeping up with the pregnancy posts but it may be a little difficult some weeks. I do want to document our journey as he grows and believe this is the best way to do it so I’m hoping I can be consistent with it. They grow so fast and I want to remember each and every step of the way. Here are some pictures from Liam’s birth day-

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Baby Blessing

My dear son,

“I bless you with joy and peace and love that won’t let go.
I bless you with grace and faith and fire in your soul.
I bless you with dreams and visions most men don’t know of.
I bless you with deeper knowledge of our Father’s Love.
I bless you with strength and power, grace through any trial.
I bless you with wisdom and with comfort in your smile.
I bless you with great adventures, journeys yet unknown.
I bless you with hearts gone wild because you are His own.

I bless you with the heart of a warrior, grace to stand and fight.
I bless you with brothers who will stand right by your side.
I bless you with courage ’til the battles have been won.
I bless you with the faith to hear your Father say, “Well done!”

I bless you with joy and laughter.
I bless you with a steadfast faith.
I bless you with the hopes and the dreams that your heart goes after.
I bless you with amazing grace.”

I love you little Liam. Welcome to the world.


Your Momma

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Schar Gluten Free Bread Kit Giveaway!

This post brought to you by Schar. All opinions are 100% mine.

Thankfully there are a lot of pre-made options for those of us who eat gluten free. This was definitely not the case a few years ago. I feel very fortunate to be able to pick and choose between the brands, narrowing down favorites in each category. Schar is one of my favorites when it comes to gluten free cookies, however they’ve just recently re-launched a new line of heat & serve gluten free breads- sub sandwich rolls, Ciabatta rolls & baguettes. I’m pretty excited about all of these since none of them are easy to find. I’m often craving a crusty piece of French bread with my soup, especially as the weather turns, but just can’t seem to find one at the local grocery store.

Schar Gluten-free Sub Sandwich Rolls are delicious, low fat, non-GMO and an excellent source of fiber. Perfect for school or work lunches, Schar Sub Sandwich Rolls come individually wrapped in convenient two-packs for optimum freshness. These hearty rolls can handle the piled-high fixings of the perfect submarine sandwich, from favorite deli-meats to fresh-sliced hot or cold beef, turkey or chicken. For a savory twist on your favorite Italian dish, use the Sub Sandwich Parbaked Rolls to house meatballs and marinara sauce or sliced Chicken Parmesan.

Offering a taste of Italy, fresh from the oven, Ciabatta fans will love Schar’s new Ciabatta Rolls, the first gluten-free heat & serve ciabatta rolls available in the U.S. Not only are these rolls light, fluffy and flavorful, but they’re also a good source of fiber.

Schar Gluten-Free Baguettes offer bread-lovers the perfect accompaniment to their favorite meals, from salad to soup. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, these baguettes are perfect for dipping in soup or enjoying with your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Schar is known as a leader in gluten-free foods and I’m definitely excited to try the free Ciabatta rolls they’re sending to me. You can get them too! Here are the details:

Sign up for the Schar Club by going to their website Schar club. The club also gives you exclusive access to new products, tips, recipes & promotions.

Once you sign up, confirm your membership through your email address.

On the left side of the webpage, you’ll see the option Toolbox and the tab “Giveaways”. Click on the tab and you’ll be prompted to fill out a form for your free sample!

HURRY! Only the first 2,000 members who sign up are going to receive the free sample kits!

Which product are you excited to try?

What will you make with your free Ciabatta rolls?

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Insurance & Homebirth

Those two words strike fear in the heart of any woman looking to have her child in the comfort of her own home. Why? Because insurance companies want to make it as difficult as possible for us to CHOOSE our method of delivery. Tricare wants me to have our child in a hospital. How do I know this? They will cover said birth ONE HUNDRED PERCENT while my homebirth is covered at a measly 45% or $1800 dollars to be exact. Wow! Thanks Tricare! You suck.

To make matters “worse” financially, my midwife balance bills which means she bills us the difference between what she charges ($4,000) and what our insurance company pays ($1,800). I have to say $4,000 is still a very fair price for all my prenatal care, birth, baby care and post-natal visit. She’s got to make a living too. So currently we’re on an installment plan and will have the whole thing paid for by December. I’ll be able to use Flex spending dollars, a benefit from my new job, so at least the funds are pre-tax.

I’m curious if anyone has had trouble with Tricare billing after the fact. The way my midwife works is she bills one CPT code for all the prenatal care and delivery which means they won’t actually be billed until after the baby is born. Just wondering if they say one thing and then do another… not that the government is known for that or anything. ;)

Posted in homebirth, Midwife, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments